July 25 Trip to the Angelina River

The day started off kinda early (for a Saturday anyway). The plans were for my son and I to get up around the crack of dawn, get a shower, get something to eat and head out. But things did not work out that way. Instead of getting on the river around 6am, it was more like 8:30. But even if we got a late start, it was still a beautiful day, the gators were out and the fish were biting.

We launched the boat at Bevilport, which is a public boat launch off Highway 63. Coming from Jasper, Texas, you turn left at the VFW sign, then drive for about 4 – 5 miles. On the way your going to pass some nice looking fields with traces of old pecan tree plantations. There is one rather large field where the cows share the shade provided by a few oak and pine trees.

When you reach the boat launch, you veer to the right, then make the circle to the left, so that your aligned up with the boat launch. From there, its a matter of taking the straps off the boat, making sure the plug is in, one last check to make sure we have life jackets. From there its just a matter of backing the boat trailer into the water and launching the boat.

Once we were on the river, my son and I headed south towards BA Steinhagen Reservoir and Dam B. The river was smooth, almost like glass, with the sky and trees reflecting in the still waters. There were a few cranes flying around the river – probably looking for a morning snack.

We were looking for a series of cuts off the river and provides access to some slews. Google maps shows a rather large network of cuts and slews just north of the Forks of the Rivers – which is where the Angelina and Neches Rivers come together. Before we headed out I had printed a map off Google map, the problem is, there was no latitude of longitude, so I had to go off how the river looked on the map and compare that to the real thing, and then figure out where the entrance to the slews were at.

One slew we turned into was filled with gators and stumps. I was a little worried that we would run up on a stump, poke a hole in the boat and have to swim to shore with gators all around us. So instead of running the gas motor, the trolling motor was dropped and we inched our way through the first slew. After exploring the back side, I realized that we were in the wrong place, so we headed back to the main river.

We had gone too far south, so we headed north.

After bouncing in and out of a couple of slits in the river, we found the one we were looking for. It makes a horse shoe looking turn, that gets narrow for maybe 100+ yards. At first look it appears to be a dead end, but it makes a 180 degree turn in the woods, and opens up into a nice sized pond and the series of slews that we had been looking for has been found.

If there is one word that I would use to describe the area, it would have to be beautiful. The cypress trees seem ageless, there is a calm there that can not be described with human words. Except for the boat, and the sounds of other boats on the river, its like stepping back in time 10,000 years. As you ease through the water-ways, the gators sit in the water watching you pass by, the birds fly from tree to tree, and the squirrels play in the tree tops.

When we first started fishing, I was using a worm, perch hook and cork setup – but the minnows and perch kept stealing my bait. The worms were probably 18 inches under the water, and I was fishing around the weeds. I could see the minnows and small perch rush out from the weeds, grab the worms, and rush back to the safety of the weeds. After only catching 1 perch, it was time for a change. So I fixed up a Texas rig with a pumpkin seed colored artificial worm. With the new setup I caught 3 bass, but only 1 of them made it into the boat. The other 2 got off the hook right before they got into the boat – and that aint no fish story.

My son was using a tiny torpedo top water lurer, and only caught 1 striped bass. I think the water might have been a little warm for the bass to be feeding on the top, but that is just a guess.

After working our way through the series of cuts and slews for about 2 hours, we decided it was time to head back. As we were working our way back through the cuts, my son spotted a baby gator swimming close to the bank. I’am just guessing the gator was about 24 – 36 inches long and it was making a barking sound. I figure the barking was kinda like a distress signal to its mom – “hey mom, these people are looking at me.” Just to be on the safe side, my son and I kept our distance from the baby gator, and kept heading on our way.

Post your comments in this forum thread about watching gators and fishing on the Angelina River.